The recent Whitelines piece “In Defense of Shaun White” attempted to answer the question “Why does Shaun White draw the ire of so many in the snowboarding faithful?” There were points and counter points, questions and explanations in the (overall) well-written piece. Still to me it did not really answer the question in as much as it did defend Shaun White. Frankly the private half pipes, while eye rolling, aren’t even in the equation for me. To me my disdain for Senior Blanco is not about what he DOES but instead what he DOESN’T do. To me Shaun White is a dick fuck because he gives absolutely NOTHING back to snowboarding…. fucking nothing.
Basically he uses his influential position as the current best half pipe rider on the planet to only line his own pockets with cash. Shaun doesn’t film video parts (like Danny Davis, Scotty Lago, and any number of other top tier competition pros). Shaun White decides he likes Jon Kooley’s signature L1 pant and uses it as a model to make his own pant. Shaun White sells rip off Etnies at Target for cheap so mom and dads don’t have to go to local skate shops to get the real deal. Shaun White uses his name to sell a line of crappy “BMX” bikes, skateboards, and fucking razor scooters. Shaun White uses artwork by his brother that looks nearly identical to well known skate and snow artist Michael Sieben to sell clothes. Shaun White owes everything he has, E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G., to that snowboard and there are a crap ton of riders who are a lot less well off than him who give a whole lot more BACK to snowboarding. I don’t know if he is a total douche, or under the control of “the man”, or just so completely out of touch with reality that he doesn’t understand, but either way he’s not on my list of favorite riders. If you want to talk skills, technicality, and longevity White’s name will always come up in conversation. However if you want to talk about the greats, the TRUE greats, like Jamie Lynn, Craig Kelly, or Mikey Leblanc well Shaun can’t hold a fucking candle to what those guys have meant and CONTINUE to mean for snowboarding. Hell even his boss Jake Burton has blown it a few times but has the sense enough to get his shit back on track. If Shaun would just throw me a little bone, just a scrap, I wouldd be happy. Say screw the X-Games and film a pow part, go ride for a little company because you don’t need the money … SOMETHING … ANYTHING. Of course that wont happen, instead we get private facilities and more deals for chewing gum and god knows what else. At the end of the day it bugs the shit out of me that Shaun White is the face of snowboarding to non-snowboarding America but doesn’t stand up for the ideals of community that snowboarding cherishes so much.
The shitty thing about the whole deal is that he doesn’t even have to be this way. If you want to look at the model for making it big and giving back to snowboarding you only need to look at the second most recognizable face in snowboarding, Travis Rice. Travis, since his days in the early Grenade vids, has been a groundbreaking snowboarder. Travis comes from out of nowhere, well Jackson Hole which is just next to nowhere in the “cool scene” of snowboarding, wins the X-Games and really never looks back. Travis Rice has filmed multiple video parts from Grenade vids to Absinthe, TGR, and now with Jackson homies Brain Farm … wait a minute you mean to tell me Rice uses his power within the snow world to HELP his friends?
What a novel idea! Travis Rice could ride for any company he wanted but choose to ride for Lib (and its important to note did so way before banana tech pushed Lib to the forefront of the culture). Travis has big sponsors too like Red Bull and Toyota and how does he leverage their power? Not to build a private jumping facility but to start the Red Bull Super Natural … see this is what I’m talking about … giving back. Until Mr. White can figure that out, and I truly truly hope he does, I really don’t give a shit about what he is up to. It’s not hate Whitelines, its disappointment.